SAN DIEGO (AP) – Marines and sailors will be subject to random blood-alcohol tests twice a year in what is billed as the toughest anti-drinking policy in the U.S. military.
Starting Jan. 1, any Marine or sailor with a blood-alcohol level of 0.01 percent or higher may be referred for counseling. Anyone who tests at 0.04 percent or higher will be referred to medical personnel to determine fitness for duty.
In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, a driver with a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol is considered drunk. A single drink can lead to a level of 0.01 percent.
The Marine Corps policy is primarily aimed at deterrence and education, but nothing precludes commanders from handing out punishments, Lt. Gen. R.E. Milstead Jr., deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, said in a Dec. 12 directive.
The Corps is the first among the Army, Air Force and Navy to begin random mandatory testing of all personnel, according to The Washington Times, (
http://bit.ly/XPvntb), which reported on the new policy last week. The Army leaves test decisions up to a commander and prohibits a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent or higher. The Air Force also instructs commanders to order alcohol tests when appropriate but has no compulsory program.
The Navy will introduce mandatory tests sometime in January, Lt. Caroline Hutcheson, a Navy spokeswoman, said Monday.
A study in September by the Institute of Medicine, sponsored by the Department of Defense, found that binge drinking, often called “sport drinking,” is increasing among military personnel in all branches, according to the Los Angeles Times (
In 1998, 35 percent of personnel admitted to binge drinking in the previous year. In 2008, the last year for which statistics were available, that figure had risen to 47percent. Twenty percent of personnel classified themselves as “heavy” drinkers.
Noting that “alcohol has long been part of military culture,” the study’s authors called for better leadership from the top of the chain of command in curbing excess drinking. Among the recommendations was “routine screening for excessive alcohol consumption.”
In fiscal 2011, the last year for which statistics are available, the Marine Corps reported 13 alcohol-related deaths among Marines in this country and abroad, the Times reported. Included were Marines killed by vehicle and motorcycle crashes, one from falling 17 stories from a building, one from attempting to run across a freeway near Camp Pendleton and several that occurred during binge drinking when the Marine passed out and could not be revived.
Under the Marine order, monthly reports about the results of the alcohol screening program will be kept by each Marine unit, and quarterly reports will be submitted to Marine Corps headquarters.
Information from: Los Angeles Times,
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food